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Rights Bill returns to political agenda

by Michael Cross >> The Conservatives’ British Bill of Rights is firmly on the political agenda as one of the 21 bills announced in the Queen’s speech.

The bill, a draft of which was originally published before Christmas, will be ‘brought forward’ in the new parliamentary session, the speech said.

A government statement said the bill ‘will support and reinforce Britain’s longstanding commitment to human rights and restore commons sense to the way human rights law is applied.’

It will include measures ‘to reform and modernise UK human rights framework’ as well as ‘protections against abuse of the system and misuse of human rights laws.’

These rights would be based on those set out int he European Convention on Human Rights, ‘while also taking into account our common law tradition,’ the government said, promising to consult fully on the proposals.

In response to the announcement, the Law Society said it remains fully committed to the rights enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights and to Britain’s membership of the convention: ‘We will be considering the draft bill carefully to ensure that it does not water down the rights we currently enjoy.’